SCHOOLS ACROSS SUNDERLAND are gearing up for one of the major events of the year, as the fifth Work Discovery Week is set to get underway.

And for the first time primary school pupils will be joining students from the city’s secondary schools for the opening day at the Stadium of Light on Monday (26 June).

Around 800 young people will be attending the launch event which includes a careers fair, hands-on activities and a range of business workshops designed to help improve the employability of the future workforce.

Pupils will be able to interact with robots and learn about artificial intelligence, discover the prospects in the digital industry and also try out everything from virtual to real welding.

More than 50 organisations will take part in Monday’s event, which is being sponsored by a range of leading businesses including The University of Sunderland, Sunderland College, MAKE it Sunderland, North East LEP, Liebherr, the Bridges and Nissan along with Accenture, Gentoo, Sunderland BID, Calsonic Kansei and Northern Print Solutions.

The event is also supported by Sunderland City Council, SAFC and the NEECC.

Twenty of the city’s secondary schools will have students participating on the opening day and, for the first time, five primary schools will also attend.

The week forms part of the Work Discovery Sunderland programme, which gives youngsters the chance to learn more about various industries and develop new skills before they make a decision on their future career.

Paul McEldon, co-chair of the Business Schools Task Group which runs the Work Discovery Sunderland programme, said the event offered “an unparalleled opportunity” for the young people of the city to engage with businesses from across the region.

“Work Discovery Week has grown massively every year,” he said.

“And we’re delighted that this year we are also able to welcome some of the city’s primary schools.

“Although their pupils are not making any immediate career decisions, we believe it’s never too early for young people to get a sense of what could be available to them.”

Following the launch day other activities taking place throughout the week include a Retail Sector Day in conjunction with the Bridges on Wednesday and a final day “Dragons’ Den” style business challenge event.

Work Discovery Week is part of the wider Work Discovery Sunderland programme which includes specific sector days and guest speaker days.